...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Collecting Spiritual Toys

Advent: A time to let go of the toys
Some years ago, I met a young American woman who had traveled to India on several occasions to study yoga and meditation under distinguished teachers... After listening to her life story, I asked her why she was doing this. She told me that she was fed up with the materialism of the West, and she was now looking for the spirituality of the East. I told her that essentially she hadn't changed. She reacted strongly, "What do you mean, I haven't changed? Isn't spirituality better than materialism?" I told her in the past, she was collecting material toys to entertain herself; now she was collecting spiritual toys. The problem was she was still collecting. Her mindset was the same, only the object of her "treasure hunt" had changed... We think what we want is outside, but what we really want is within us. Tony D' Souza, Discovering Awareness
 
The beginning of growth begins with a simple question: "What do I really want?' The answer to this question resides within us, not outside of us. Spiritual toys offer a kind of security but keep us from looking within. We look to others and things to do what we can only do for ourselves: our own spiritual work.
 
Like the materialism of the season, we can become really busy with the religious calendar while neglecting the one thing needful: the state of our spirit. All the church observances of the season have the goal of letting Christ be born in us, the dawn of God's "tender mercy" enlivening and renewing us. 
 
Without that life, we may just be collecting spiritual toys to entertain us.
 
 
 
 
 

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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